Metro announces more frequent subway trains and Blue Line service at night

Mayor Villaraigosa and a replica of Lady Gaga at the event this morning announcing more evening rail service. Photo by Juan Ocampo/Metro.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa just finished announcing the news at a news event at the Music Center: Beginning this Sunday, Nov. 13, Metro will run trains every 10 minutes between 6 p.m. and midnight on the Red and Purple line subway, as well as the Blue Line between downtown L.A. and Long Beach.

It’s a demonstration project that aims to boost ridership and better serve entertainment, cultural and sporting venues in addition to restaurants, hotels and stores. The service will also be accompanied by more discounts available to those who use Metro to get where they’re going.

“L.A. doesn’t roll up its sidewalks at sundown,” said Mayor Villaraigosa, who also noted that this is part of a bigger program to expand transit throughout the region — whether it’s building new lines or taking better advantage of existing transit.

“Our downtown is booming — it’s no longer a nine-to-five downtown,” said Carol Schatz, President and CEO of the Central City Assn., which represents downtown businesses. “Metro’s slogan is ‘more trains, more often.’ Our slogan is ‘party hardy and take the train.'”

Mayor Villaraigosa announces the news along with representatives of the downtown, Hollywood and Long Beach sports and cultural scene. Photo by Juan Ocampo/Metro.

The project is starting with Metro’s busiest rail lines at night. The subway currently carries an estimated 18,568 boardings between 7 p.m. and midnight with the Blue Line carrying 9,379 between those times. The agency will see how the new service performs and may make similar changes to other lines next spring.

Among the representatives of the night-life scene on hand for the announcement Monday were cheerleaders for the L.A. Kings and L.A. Clippers — both teams play a short walk from the Blue Line — as well as officials from the L.A. Opera, Hollywood and the Long Beach Aquarium.

I know some Source readers will ask: why not post-midnight service? The answer from Metro officials: they wanted to first determine if there are ridership gains to be had from more frequent service during the regular night hours. If the program goes well, late night service may still be added.

In the meantime, patrons on the Gold, Green and Orange Line busway should see quicker trips if they’re transferring to the subway or Blue Line at night. The extra service should also benefit workers who won’t have to wait as long for trains and will likely see more people on those trains, leading to a safer atmosphere.

Here’s a good news story by Eric Richardson of blogdowntown that fills in some other details.